Drilling down to greater safety

DMP presentation highlights how safety standards have changed in the drilling industry.
Date: Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The evolution of safety in the drilling industry has been highlighted in a presentation to industry by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Mine Safety Inspectors Chris Gamble, Stuart Erskine and Dean Crouch were invited to deliver a joint presentation at DrillFest 2015, an event organised by the Australian Drilling Industry Association held this week.

“Safety standards in the drilling industry have lifted immensely in recent years,” Mr Erskine said.

“From the use of personal protective equipment and dust suppression, to automatic drill rod handlers and drill rod guards, there has been a considerable focus on raising safety standards in the drilling industry.”

Part of the presentation looked at previously accepted standards and the contrast when compared to standards today.

“The safety standards back in the 1980s and 90s are so very far removed from what is acceptable today,” Mr Erskine said.

“In one slide there is a photo of a couple of drillers working under a suspended load at height with no personal protective equipment other than boots.

“This was seen as acceptable in the 1980s and, unfortunately, a number of workers paid the price for the low level of safety standards.

“Thankfully this is a thing of the past. There are now many proactive safety initiatives around the drilling industry.

“Almost every month something new is being developed to improve safety and protect workers.”

Mr Erskine said a continued commitment to climbing the hierarchy of control has also been embraced by the drilling industry.

“Over the past five years there has been enormous progress made,” he said.

“It is important to remain vigilant, continue to build on this work and make further progress towards the aspirational goal of zero harm.”

DrillFest 2015 included more than 50 exhibiting companies, a live demonstration area, product launches and workshops.

Showcasing safety standards in the drilling industry.